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BAVO creates new student organization, Belles Supporting Belles

| Friday, February 12, 2021

The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) has begun a new initiative with its expansion to form an additional organization called Belles Supporting Belles (BSB).

BAVO strives to help cultivate a culture free from interpersonal violence through education, training, support and advocacy, co-chair of the organization’s education and outreach committee, senior Meghan McNamara said. Students, such as McNamara, have had the opportunity to be involved in the mission of this office in the past. But, now they have the opportunity to be involved in a new way.

Previously, students were a part of BAVO committees which were connected directly with BAVO itself. The Student Advisory Committee — which includes McNamara and junior Emily Karalus, co-chair of the events and campaigns committee — has taken this student component of BAVO and created an official and separate organization.

Both Karalus and McNamara emphasized that no services will be taken away as a result of this new development. The main change is that as an official student organization, BSB now has more financial freedom and the opportunity to work with other on-campus organizations, Karalus said.

“Our material within our events will not be as censored as it was when we were working as a department,” McNamara said.

BSB will still be overseen by BAVO director Liz Coulston, who students can expect to see attending and involved with most events, Karalus said.

BSB will be led by the current Student Advisory Committee. Positions such as president, vice president and secretaries are likely to be members of this committee but have yet to be decided.

The name was proposed by a current committee member and voted upon by the entire organization, McNamara said.

“As Belles, we work to support everyone on campus so students feel safe and heard,” McNamara said. “[The name] Belles Supporting Belles embodied our club the best.”

Karalus said BSB has a number of events planned for the coming weeks including “An Evening with Debbie Riddle” Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. via Zoom — during which a conversation about stalking and violence prevention will take place. Additional opportunities include self-defense classes and a group viewing of the documentary “Athlete A” and a discussion to follow.

Karalus said encourages students to consider applying for positions on committees and taking advantage of services such as Green Dot training that are provided through BAVO.

Although BSB is still finding its feet as a student organization separate from BAVO, this new development will increase students’ ability to improve the atmosphere in the tri-campus community, Karalus and McNamara said. The services BAVO offers and the work that involves students will not change, but the capacity for more advocacy or better conversations will increase with the formation of BSB.

Karalus and McNamara said they encourage students with any questions or interest in BAVO and these events to contact the its office. Additional information can be found on BAVO’s events page.

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